Monday, October 6, 2014

Inspiring People: Jersey Girls Dairy

Karen and Rosco from Jersey Girls Dairy

If you listen carefully, you are surrounded by lots of inspiring people. Here is the second story in my Inspiring People series.

As you pull into the Jersey Girls Dairy in Stanthorpe, Queensland, it is similar to most farm gates, gravel driveway with paddocks of cows.

Inside, you meet Karen. Karen taught herself how to make cheese over 15 years ago and along the way she and her husband Rosco ended up with a farm filled with Jersey Cows.

They started to make cheese from the milk of the Jersey cows, which is very different to your standard old milking cow, much creamier. It didn't take long for people to fall in love with their cheese.

At a time when many dairy farmers have been unable to survive the milk cuts forced on the industry by the duopoly we have, the Jersey Girls Dairy is at full capacity.

Karen now has two local women working with her who make all the cheese. They have such a high demand that they can no longer keep up the supply from their own cows and have to purchase milk from another farm in the district. Added to this are the ladies working at the front counter who also grow vegetables and produce at home for the cafe that is on site.

Jersey Girls Cheese Stanthorpe Queensland

The cheese is fabulous. I tried every single variety that was available (consider it research) the milk shakes are also better than you will have tried before. But the story I felt most important from the Jersey Girls Dairy was more than just milk and cheese.

Up there in Queensland in the middle of nowhere really, Karen and her team have what so many people are looking for, and I am not even sure if they realise it. They have jobs they love, they have flexibility. They really have the holy grail of work/life balance.

Each of the ladies that work there start work after school drop off. "They have to look after their families first" says Karen. In the afternoon, there are days when the kids all get off the school bus at the dairy and go home from there, otherwise the work day ends with the school day.

Staff are encouraged to do things, be creative, try new product lines. If they want to make jam or pickles or grow something, Karen will incorporate these into the shop too.

Being a really great employer can offer a business so much, but not everyone manages to do this very well. Investing in your staff with simple things like flexibility and opportunity is totally worth it. For Karen, having two people making the cheese allows her more time to work in other areas of the business, to leave the farm at times and to enjoy her time more.

As we were leaving we met Rosco, he had been out with the cows and was happy to take us over to say hello to the girls. He pointed out one old lady over by the fence. "She's in retirement. Most farmers don't keep them, but I can't let them go. This paddock is kind of like an Old Cows Home" he said.

It seems both the staff and the animals are treated with respect and dignity at Jersey Girls. And that is something we could all do a little more of.

Who has been your favourite employer? Have you tried cheese from a jersey cow?


  1. How awesome are these people! Love hearing stories like these.


  2. What a wonderful success story. I love these sorts of stories, very inspiring. Well done to them. Mel x


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